Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 25th March, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices

Contact: Hanna Taylor, Democratic Services Officer, Ext 3056, Email  Hanna.Taylor@woking.gov.uk 

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes

To approve the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 25 February 2019 as published.

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Minutes:

RESOLVED

That the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on Monday, 25 February 2019 be approved and signed as a true and correct record.

2.

Urgent Business

To consider any business that the Chairman rules may be dealt with under Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.

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Minutes:

There was no urgent business to discuss.

3.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary and other interestsfrom Members in respect of any item to be considered at the meeting.

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Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made.

4.

Work Programme OSC19-014 pdf icon PDF 125 KB

Reporting Person: Councillor I Johnson

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Minutes:

The Chairman introduced the Committee’s Work Programme and drew attention to proposed topics for future consideration comprising a review of play areas, an update on flood prevention work in the Hoe Valley, a review of amended proposals for the Sheerwater Regeneration Project and a review of services provided by partner organisations.

In June 2019 the Committee would consider the impact of the County Council’s proposals to close children’s centres and review the outcome of the County Council’s consultation on its services.  The Members of the Committee were encouraged to submit proposals for additional items for consideration over the coming Municipal Year.

Resolved

That the Work Programme be noted.

5.

New Vision Homes Complaints Review

Reporting Person: Chloe Hobbs, NVH Repairs and Compliance Manager for Asset Management

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Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Chloe Hobbs from New Vision Homes and Hazel Craig-Waller, Project Officer at Woking Borough Council, to the meeting to discuss the level of complaints received by New Vision Homes.  Chloe gave a detailed presentation on the work undertaken by New Vision Homes to address the significant number of complaints received over 2017 and 2018 following the withdrawal of the contractor for the service.

The reasons behind the complaints had been reviewed and New Vision Homes had adopted a number of steps to address the main issues, including the appointment of additional tradespersons and an experienced call centre team leader, the development of a training manual to assist with the scheduling of jobs and the restructure of the call centre.

As a result of the work of New Vision Homes and the new contractors, the number of complaints had fallen from a monthly average of 14 to 4, customer satisfaction had improved to an average of 95.8%, 100% of all calls were answered, the average time take for completion of works was decreasing and the first time fix rate had shown improved levels.

The Committee welcomed the work of New Vision Homes to address the issue of complaints and the significant improvements that had been achieved.  Chloe and Hazel were thanked for coming before the Committee and clearly setting out the difficulties that had been faced and the work that had been undertaken to address them.

6.

Safer Woking Partnership - Community Safety Plan OSC19-013 pdf icon PDF 66 KB

Reporting Person: Camilla Edmiston and Inspector Andrew Greaves

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Minutes:

Detective Inspector Andrew Greaves and Camilla Edmiston, Community Safety Manager, presented the annual report on the draft Community Safety Plan for 2019/22.  The Committee was advised that the Plan remained similar to previous plans and covered five key priority areas – anti social behaviour, crime, drugs and alcohol, reducing reoffending, and preventing violent extremism.  The Committee was invited to review the Plan and Members were advised that any significant issues of concern would be referred to the Community Safety Task Group for consideration.

The issue of rising knife crime was raised and Detective Inspector Greaves advised that the matter was being treated seriously across all Police regions.  Most knife crime was related to drug abuse and Surrey Police was working hard to reduce the extent of knife crime in the County.

The closure of Woking Police Station was discussed and Detective Inspector Greaves reported that plans for the station were at an early stage.  Its closure was not expected to have an effect on the day-to-day services; however, the impact would be more apparent in respect of specialist units such as the fire arms units and their transfer to Leatherhead.  It was anticipated that the front desk would relocate to the Civic Offices, though this was yet to be decided.

Councillor Raja raised the specific incident of a burglary at the Shah Jahan Mosque over the weekend, following the prayer/peace vigil organised by the Mosque for the victims and families of those affected by the New Zealand terror attacks, and stated that the incident had damaged the confidence of the community.  Detective Inspector Greaves stressed that the Police were seeking to tackle crime across all communities and were currently investigating the burglary.  As part of the Force’s efforts to build a stronger relationship with the local community, the Police would regularly attend Friday prayers at the Mosque to listen to concerns and re-engage with residents.

The Chairman thanked Detective Inspector Greaves and Camilla for attending the meeting.

RESOLVED

That the Safer Woking Partnership Plan 2019/22 be endorsed.

7.

Environmental Health - Food Hygiene Rating Scheme OSC19-012 pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Reporting Person: Emma Bourne

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Minutes:

Emma Bourne, Environmental Health Manager, attended the meeting to present a report on the food hygiene inspection regime carried out by the Council’s Environmental Health Food Safety Service.  The report set out the role of the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme and the process of undertaking food hygiene inspections of the 800 or so businesses which were covered by the regulations.

The Council employed four qualified inspectors who were responsible for visiting the businesses to assess their hygiene standards.  The higher risk businesses, such as take away units, were visited more frequently.  The assessment scores under the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme varied from the lowest standard (0) to the highest standard of 5.  The scores were based on the conditions at the time of the inspection and took into account the levels of compliance on food hygiene and safety, the levels of compliance on structure and cleanliness and confidence in management.  The figures were published and could be found through the Council’s website or online apps.

The Committee asked whether the Inspectors could close down a business if the standards were particularly low.  Emma advised that if an Inspector found an ‘imminent risk to health’, a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice would be issued, forcing the business to close immediately.  It was noted that a food business could have a zero rating but not be closed down where there had been major non compliances which did not amount to an imminent risk to health.

It was noted that during 2017/18 a total of 408 inspections had been carried out, 113 food complaints investigated and 42 food samples analysed.  The current percentage of broadly compliant food premises stood at 97%, with appropriate enforcement action being taken against those identified as not compliant.

In noting the application of the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, the Committee was advised that food businesses were not required to display their rating.  The Chairman suggested that a letter could be sent from the Committee to the MP for Woking, urging the Government to make the display of the rating mandatory for food businesses across England.

RESOLVED

That  (i)    the report be noted; and

          (ii)   the Chairman to write to Jonathan Lord MP on behalf of the Committee to seek a change in the legislation to require all food premises to display their Food Hygiene Rating.

8.

Freedom Leisure Performance Review OSC19-015 pdf icon PDF 382 KB

Reporting person: Michelle Melia

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Minutes:

The Committee received a report which set out the performance review of Freedom Leisure, including assessments on quality and performance management, KPIs and the priorities for the coming Municipal Year.  Priorities for the coming year included the re-opening of the flumes in the Pool in the Park, the replacement of primary plant equipment refurbishment of the changing rooms at the Leisure Centre and Pool in the Park, and the opening of the grass football pitches at the Sportsbox.

The report outlined the quality assessments undertaken by Freedom Leisure, including the scores across recent years, and the complaints received.  A decline in participation had been seen at both the Pool in the Park and the Leisure Centre, affected by increased competition in the area, new trends in exercising such as open space boot camps and unreliable services due to pool closures.  The report explained the reasons behind the closure of the Pool in the Park and the measures being adopted to addresses the issues, noting that the work to replace the flumes was due to be completed in the coming weeks.

The Members of the Committee raised a number of concerns over the problems faced by Freedom Leisure though noted the background to the main issues and the work that was being undertaken to resolve them.  It was further noted that the oversight of the contract with Freedom Leisure fell under the responsibility of the Leisure Partnership Group, the agendas, reports and minutes of which were available to all Councillors.

The Committee thanked the Officers for the report and Councillor Kemp, Portfolio Holder, for attending the meeting.

RESOLVED

That the report be noted.

9.

Annual Report OSC19-011 pdf icon PDF 119 KB

Reporting person: Councillor I Johnson

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Minutes:

The Chairman introduced the draft Annual Report on the activities of the Committee over the past year.  The activities included a variety of topics on which reports and presentations had been received, including the work of the three task groups within the remit of the Committee – the Finance Task Group, the Economic Development Task Group and the Housing Task Group.  The report was before the Committee for review before being brought to the Council at the beginning of April.

The Committee welcomed the report and it was

RESOLVED

That the report be submitted to the next meeting of Council.

10.

Performance and Financial Monitoring Information

To consider the current publication of the Performance & Financial Monitoring Information (Green Book).

Reporting Person: Councillor I Johnson

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Minutes:

The Committee had before it the Performance and Financial Monitoring Information for the month of January 2019 (the ‘Green Book’).  It was noted that the Green Book for February was due to be published in the coming days.  No points were raised in respect of the January Green Book.

RESOLVED

That the Performance and Financial Monitoring Information for January 2019 be noted.

Thanks

At the conclusion of the meeting, the Chairman thanked both Officers and Members of the Committee for their hard work during the year, and expressed his appreciation of the attendance at the meeting by Councillor Kemp.

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